States dole out billions in improper unemployment insurance payments

posted at 2:05 pm on September 15, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Eliminating waste wouldn’t necessarily solve the nation’s and states’ budget problems, but it surely couldn’t hurt. Stories like this one from The Wall Street Journal hammer that home:

Nearly $19 billion in state unemployment benefits were paid in error during the three years that ended in June, new Labor Department data show.

The amount represents more than 10 percent of the $180 billion in jobless benefits paid nationwide during the period. (See a sortable chart of each states’ overpayments) The tally covers state programs, which offer benefits for up to 26 weeks, from July 2008 to June 2011. Layers of federal programs that help provide benefits for up to 99 weeks weren’t included.

The figures were released Wednesday as the Obama administration promotes its bid to reduce waste at federal agencies. The federal government foots the bill for administering the programs, and states are supposed to pay for the benefits. Many states exhausted their unemployment insurance trust funds during the long recession and slow recovery, prompting them to borrow from the federal government to replenish their funds.

It’s also interesting information in light of the president’s repeated calls for an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. While these numbers analyze waste at the state level, the federal government made at least $125 billion in improper payments through a variety of duplicative programs and it seems reasonable to assume waste occurs at the federal level of the unemployment insurance program, as well. All question of incentive aside — and of at what point an increase or extension of unemployment benefits actually contributes to the unemployment problem, it seems the president could at least acknowledge it makes little sense to call for more taxpayer dollars to be dumped into the UI program until administrators manage to lower the percentage of improper payments. In fact, the new Labor Department figures shows the president has $19 billion to play with — redirect those improper payments to those Obama says would stimulate the economy if they just had money in their pockets and we’ll have a nice little mini-test of whether an extension of benefits improves anything without wasting any more dollars than we do already. Kidding, of course. Cut the waste completely.


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Cut the waste completely.

It isn’t ‘waste’, its fraud. Unemployment, disability, welfare, Solyndra, any government program handing out billions, medicare, medicaid.

All you have to do is ‘qualify’, and when politics determines ‘qualification’, then all you need is acceptable evidence that you qualify.

Skandia Recluse on September 15, 2011 at 2:11 PM

The HE!! YOU SAY!/

Badger40 on September 15, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Don’t fret. Sherrif Joe’s on the case!

Ferris on September 15, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Even if they don’t prosecute or attempt to recover the money, if improper payment was made, publish names and addresses on a database accessible to all. Family members should know, neighbors should know, employers and prospective employers should know.

If not, put them in the stocks in front of their county courthouse for five weekdays.

BuckeyeSam on September 15, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Well, the wife got a new job and is ending her unemployment run – but I can tell you – when they made some silly “changes” to how you filed back in July… 800 numbers that didnt work, crashed websites, “operators not available” – for over 1 week…

Yeah ripe with fraud, because they basically scrubbed the new “method”, while defaulting back to the original, whereas I imagine double payments could have gone out.

Gov at work.

Odie1941 on September 15, 2011 at 2:12 PM

ATTAAAAAACK WAAAAAAATCH!!!! The Labor Department has just slammed BO, they need to be reported.

jbh45 on September 15, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Indiana’s Percent Paid In Error (2010-11) is at 59.7%.

How the heck does that happen?

pain train on September 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Just spreading the wealth around…

Khun Joe on September 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Slightly O/T but certainly related:

Attention Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama!

Steny Hoyer to Eric Cantor just now on the House floor: “We welcome the gentlemen’s rejection of “it’s my way or the highway” attitude, and we look forward to working with the Republicans on the issue of getting Americans back to work” (paraphrased)

Nobody’s WON anything Ms. Pelosi, while you asserted your tenure as Speaker to shut out any contribution the minority party had to offer.

Further, Mr. Obama, your “my way or the highway” attitude with your political joke of a Jobs bill is also not resonating with the American public of either party. Get over yourself Mr. Obama and stop playing games with your class warfare rhetoric while a nation sits on the precipice of fiscal and moral bankruptcy.

(rant over)

Rovin on September 15, 2011 at 2:19 PM

the Waste Thievery Fraud administration.

forest on September 15, 2011 at 2:22 PM

ndiana’s Percent Paid In Error (2010-11) is at 59.7%.

How the heck does that happen?

pain train on September 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Cause you just have to help the incompetent

Indiana had the highest error rate, with improper payments accounting for more than 43% of the total amount paid. But Mark Everson, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said the differences in error rates stem from variations in state programs.

“To characterize it as waste, fraud and abuse is just manipulative,” Mr. Everson said. “There’s no way in the world you could cut the 43% of people off.”

Mr. Everson pointed out that in Indiana, benefit recipients are required to list three work searches. If a recipient fills out only two of the three searches correctly, there are cases when the recipient can still receive benefits. But that counts as an error.

kerncon on September 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Perfect graphic for this, Tina!

cynccook on September 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM

The longer you offer benefits, the more fraud there will be. At our factory we have jobs open and people apply all the time, but the most frequent phrase I hear is: “Can you pay me in cash? I don’t want to lose my unemployment benefits.”

Heck, we even have employees that are trying to game the system. Just this week we were contacted by the government over an employee that signed up for unemployment for “reduced wages.” The problem is that this employee is paid on piece work (and averages $30/hr), but has refused certain jobs because he doesn’t like them or because they would slow him down and lower his hourly average. The guy could make as much money as he wants, but he only wants to do certain things. On average he works about 20 hours per week. So, I reviewed his production records and noticed that starting a few months ago he reduced his work load so that he would never go over a certain amount of pay. Now he files for unemployment benefits because he is not making as much as last year. Freakin’ ridiculous!

ReaganWasRight on September 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Indiana’s Percent Paid In Error (2010-11) is at 59.7%.

How the heck does that happen?

pain train on September 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Wanna bet most of that is around Gary? You know, the place that always reports its votes dead last on election night so they can see how many “extra” votes are needed to get a DemoRat his victory?

honsy on September 15, 2011 at 2:29 PM

It’s also interesting information in light of the president’s repeated calls for an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

The wasted money isn’t a bug, its a feature. That’s the only thing these clowns are good at.

iurockhead on September 15, 2011 at 2:30 PM

How many illegals are on the dole?

Schadenfreude on September 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

So there are now guidelines and checks in place to prevent this from happening, again. Right?

tomg51 on September 15, 2011 at 2:35 PM

And how’s our collection agency doing on recouping the miss-paid money?

tomg51 on September 15, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Wanna bet most of that is around Gary? You know, the place that always reports its votes dead last on election night so they can see how many “extra” votes are needed to get a DemoRat his victory?

honsy on September 15, 2011 at 2:29 PM

That would make sense. Gary IN is essentially SE Chicago.

iurockhead on September 15, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Wow, extra transfer payments to the unproductive. That would explain the robust economy.

/

mankai on September 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s wondering if “waste” is not intentional throughout our federal government’s mismanagement of money…who can ever track it all down, or will?

Lourdes on September 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

How many illegals are on the dole?

Schadenfreude on September 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Yes, again, a recurring question by citizens.

I imagine if each ‘sanctuary city’ in the U.S. was examined very closely one could locate a great deal of this ‘missing’ money.

Lourdes on September 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

How many illegals are on the dole?

Schadenfreude on September 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

There are around 15-20 MILLION illegals, so I’m guessing 3-5 MILLION or so… They say we spend 10% of the California budget supporting illegal aliens…

Give me a counterfeit proof, mandatory free NATIONAL ID CARD (also to be presented at your local polling place) and a computer system that can get into and cross reference all 50 states’ data bases, and we can make this fraud go away in a matter of months if not weeks…

Americans are responsible for a lot of this, but let’s start with the illegals. Stop the money flow. Dry us their cash. They will self deport, and if not, we can send them ona one-way flight (on a US carrier) to the capital of their home country, with strict instructions not to return without the proper visa.

It will be cheaper in the long run…

RANT COMPLETE!

Khun Joe on September 15, 2011 at 3:05 PM

wow, a mere $19 billion down the drain.

katablog.com on September 15, 2011 at 3:54 PM

How many illegals are on the dole?

Schadenfreude on September 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

All of them?

Aviator on September 15, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Democratics will always present crap like this as waste, because they want us to believe that a bigger and more well-organized bureaucracy can eliminate that waste. Calling it fraud, which could be prosecuted under existing laws by existing organizations, doesn’t advance the cause. It also likely puts fellow democratics in jail.

It’s similar to gun laws. Democratics are the least likely to demand enforcement of existing gun laws, because they want the crimes to results in a cry for more laws and the government workers to apply them.

slickwillie2001 on September 15, 2011 at 4:17 PM

All of them?

Aviator on September 15, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Great. Very logical, Aviator.

Schadenfreude on September 15, 2011 at 5:17 PM

To all of you worried about your unemployment comp. I say remember that none of this applies to the self employed. There are no beny’s of any kind to us. All I have to say to you is suck it up and get a job, any job. Just like I had to do. If 67 have a bad heart and lost nearly half of my eye sight, but because I’m over 65 I can not be considered disabled so I went back to work. Someone has to pay taxes to support you slackers.

jpcpt03 on September 15, 2011 at 5:34 PM

one of my ex employees filed for and received workers comp claim for an injury while on unemployment (seven months ) and over my objections it was paid. He now is seeking disability, has collected both comp and unemployment at the same time, and what a coincidence that all happens just before his unemployment was about to run out. No, i’m not exaggerating or making it up.

aceinstall on September 15, 2011 at 5:39 PM

You know I read something earlier in the thread about prosecute, publish names, etc……I am having total trouble with that.

I have a friend, 59 yo who was let go after a company failure with 15 years on the job. She is scrambling, and downsized, and done the leg work, and not a thing has landed for her. So the UE office says hey, your benefits are extended. She took them. She needs to be trussed up in the public square? If that is conservatism I’m wondering what the hell did I hitch my wagon to? Sure, she should have been smarter, but that she followed the rules laid out by her State and Federal governments she is guilty of fraud? She might have to just kneel and say “I’m guilty”?

Yeah,,, I have a problem with that.

Limerick on September 16, 2011 at 1:32 AM